Wanted to start this blog with the title White Christmas, No Dreaming Needed. But, our wild weather for Christmas had my mind heading in a different direction.
After spending time recently in St. Louis with family, on several occasions people remarked how crazy St. Louis weather can be and “you can get all four seasons in a week”. It was hard not to retort with a little Texas pride “well, in Texas you get all four in one day”. I’ve only been here since 2006. And yes, I got here as quick as I could. And yes, I do have a nominal level of Texas pride. But, here I sit in the storm center on Christmas morning tracking thunderstorms under a Severe Storm Watch while doing a write up on today’s Winter Storm Warning.
The upper level low is very strong. Being upper level means our barometers here on the ground don’t pick up on the pressure drop. As of this writing, the pressure is lower from Austin and College Station under the surface low triggering the strong storms. But make no bones about it, the upper level system is the more potent force here. It is tightly wound and will be the impetus for strong winds throughout the day. But, first let’s talk the rain and storm scenario this morning.
Interestingly, the Severe Thunderstorm Watch is the side bar in our Christmas story because storms are remaining below severe limits for the start of the day. That said, the hail potential is still significant and a few cells could still produce up to nickel to quarter-sized hail. Most however will produce only pea-sized hail and wind gusts to 40 mph along with a lot of lightning. The window for the storms will end after 9 AM. And this brings up our top story.
We should have a brief break until the snow sets in on the back side of the storm. Our snow window will be 2 PM to 7 PM and the above graphic gives a pretty good call on the layout of heavy snow versus lighter snow. The most probable areas for snow still remain the two tier of counties along the Red River toward the Metroplex. The National Weather Service has the Metroplex under a Winter Weather Advisory with our Red River counties under a Winter Storm Warning for heavier snow accumulations. The snow totals below are their forecast numbers with the warning and advisory. I like their thinking on this especially from Bowie to Bonham or Montague County to Fannin County.
Below is the CBS 11 Storm Team’s latest thinking on the snowfall. The northern half of Tarrant and Dallas counties getting near 1 inch of snow or a little more while the southern halves trend below an inch to what will be a dusting from Waxahachie southeastward to Cleburne to Stephenville. Across Collin to Denton to Wise Country is where it starts to get tricky with the call. Sort of the line of demarcation between the more significant, heavy snow and the more manageable taste of snow to the south. The northern halves of Denton and Collin counties is where we start getting into the more significant snow in terms of extended travel impacts into the overnight hours. That’s because gusty winds will make it difficult to keep roads clean.
Travel will be difficult this afternoon from the Metroplex northward. Once the snow lets up, travel for most of the Metroplex will likely recover quickly because of the warm roads/snow melt, strong winds and generally lighter amounts. However, from the from Denton and Collin County northward, travel conditions will be impacted through overnight hours thanks to the higher snow returns and strong winds blowing snow onto roads.